Icons of Ybor: Brian Schaefer (The Bricks, Skate Park of Tampa)

Brian Schaefer, owner of The Bricks in Ybor and Skate Park of Tampa


Brian: SPoT – 1993, Needed a place to skate, and we had a private warehouse with a vert ramp that was coming to an end in drew park. 1 year it lasted, and we couldn’t afford the rent as we were all 18 – 21 years of age. 3 miles outside of Ybor, the park is going on its 28th year. Ybor area had the right geography. It’s the center of all the suburbs, close to 7th ave (bars, clubs, restaurants), airports, strip clubs, and beaches for the tourists and skateboarders from around the world.

We opened the Bricks on 7th Ave in 2010 – SPoT(Skatepark of Tampa) was only 3 miles from Ybor, and our crew didn’t have its own place. So we built something for everyone! Like-minded people didn’t have a common place to congregate with things our crowd wanted; good food(lunch, breakfast, and dinner on the healthier side, coffee, beer, liquor, and wine. We needed a place that had it all with our music, vibe, and accommodating every walk of life; the broke skateboarder, teachers, musicians, artists, doctors, and lawyers too. It all exists at the bricks; it’ super rad. We needed a space to do bands on a small scale and host art shows and events. We opened a skate shop when we first opened that lasted about five years. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out as there’s no real retail or a sustainable community within Ybor just yet. More residents are coming slowly but surely, and we’ll be here to give them the Bricks/Spot experience.

Q: What makes Ybor, Ybor — why is it unique?

Brian: The landscape of Ybor and its history; Old Cuban district and the history of cigar making. It’s brick roads, historic feel, close to port tampa, down town, the interstates, and Brandon is close by where I can go visit my mom that has lived in the same house for 41 years. Everything’s close – 30 minutes to the Gulf of Mexico, Airports, Down Town and where I have lived now for over 12 years. I like the Blue collar surroundings, the businesses that want to be here.

Q: What’s your fondest memory of Ybor?

Brian: Too many to list, but here’s a few. being 16 and bringing a street ramp(skateboarding) to Ybor during a Guavaween parade (1987) and skating it in the tropicana parking lot all night. Seeing the band Lemonheads at Masquerade when it was on 19th and 7th (now Zydeco) when I was 18. Seeing Band of Horses and Dinosaur Jr at Cuban Club in 2007. Having my first pint of real beer when I was 21 at the Oak Barrel in Ybor Square(now Scientology).

New World Brewery, people, staff and seeing My Morning Jacket play there. Masquerade SPoT Anniversary Parties. Czar Bar in the OG spot on 7th and 14th for all the similar minded people, punks, new waivers, bad ass bartenders and Sandy and Amber are the bomb. 2010 starting the bricks with a bad ass team but most of all I enjoyed the community and potential prior to 2001 when Centro Ybor got Gentrified and made Ybor unobtainable financially for the foundation it should have been; The ROCK of Tampa it could have been.. there’s still hope – eeks

Q: What would you like people to know about you or your business?

Brian: The Bricks… It’s for everyone and I am grateful for all the locals and support that has kept us going for over 10 years now. We have an epic back courtyard that no one really knows about; one day we will have a roof over it so we can have the best small venue in town – The Bricks Loves you – (SPoT does too).


Icons of Ybor: Jill Wax (La France)

Icons of Ybor: Jill Wax (La France)

Q: WHAT YEAR DID YOU START YOUR BUSINESS, AND WHY YBOR?Jill: I first opened a retail clothing store in the early 70s. It was new hippy-like clothes; I loved the fabrics. A lot of it was 100% hand-embroidered cotton, and I thought there would be all kinds of little...

USF Innovators: Dr. Lori Collins (DHHC USF)

USF Innovators: Dr. Lori Collins (DHHC USF)

Q: Can you tell us a little about yourself?DR. LORI COLLINS: I am an archaeologist who specializes in using spatial technologies, mapping, and 3D imaging. I have been with the University of South Florida for over 15 years with my best friend, husband, and colleague...